The Port of Rotterdam’s container throughput increased 2.1% year-on-year to 14.8m teu in 2019, having experienced negligible container transport growth during the second six months of the year.
Thanks to a good start to the first six months of the year, the Port of Rotterdam matched the transhipment volume recorded in 2018.
However economic growth in the EU declined somewhat, particularly as a consequence of reduced industrial production in Germany.
Additionally, shipments from Asia were cancelled in November and December as a consequence of declining production and decreased growth in world trade.
Overall the port saw a freight throughput of 469.4m tonnes in 2019, of which containers accounted for 152.9m, which is a fraction higher than in 2018.
Investments by the Port of Rotterdam Authority were high with gross investments including participations amounting to €338.2m (US$367.3m).
The net result excluding taxes amounted to €241m (US$261.6m) which is slightly less than 2018’s €254.1m (US$275.9m)
Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO, said: “The success of a modern port cannot be measured by throughput tonnage alone.
“Our customers no longer just want increased throughput capacity, but demand a better, faster and, above all, smarter port.”
The port saw significant underlying shifts between various commodities as crude oil, container liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biomass throughputs increased, coal and mineral oil product throughput decreased.
Total throughput of liquid bulk was almost on par with 2018’s 211.8m tonnes at 211.2m tonnes as crude oil throughput exceeded 100m tonnes for the fifth consecutive year, increasing by 3.9%.
Investments made in recent years have helped to expand the production capacity of refineries either located in Rotterdam or connected to Rotterdam which has led to an increase in the amount of crude oil refined in 2019.
The throughput of mineral oil products fell as a result of lower imports and exports of fuel oil as a downward trend over the past few years intensified in 2019 as a result of tightened global emission regulations.
The increase in LNG throughput was mainly due to the import of a greater proportion of the gas produced around the Atlantic ocean into Europe, instead of being exported to Asia.
Dry bulk decreased by 4% to 74.5m tonnes from 77.6m tonnes in 2018 and coal volumes dropped significantly by 14.8%.
The share of coal in Dutch and German power generation has decreased significantly as both countries now generate more power from solar, wind and gas.
Roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) transhipment increased slightly by 0.8% despite uncertainties surrounding Brexit although there were slight fluctuations throughout the year.
Additionally, the port has made significant progress with digitisation and energy transition, in particular through the launch of PortXchange, the proposed expansion of the heat supply network, and the agreement between the port authority and various companies to work towards the capture, transport and storage of CO2.
Castelein added: “Equally crucial for the future is that industry succeeds in accelerating the energy transition so that the Port of Rotterdam can make a real impact towards achieving the Dutch climate objectives.”